A number of small businesses have stepped up to host Memorial Day poppy distributions after several big retailers nixed the familiar red poppies this year.
In the days leading up to Memorial Day each year, members of American Legion Post 347 Auxiliary distribute poppies. The national American Legion Auxiliary poppy program dates back to 1921. Each year, millions of red crepe paper poppies—all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation—are distributed across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans.
However, this year the local auxiliary has a much tougher challenge after being turned away by several big box retailers and grocery stores who have hosted poppy distribution in the past, this year’s Poppy Days Chairwoman Joan Halstead explained to the Lady Lake Commission. Mayor James Rietz made an honorary proclamation in support of this year’s Poppy Days.
American Legion Post 347 Auxiliary is hoping to raise between $10,000 and $11,000 through this year’s poppy distribution.
Poppy Days will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 at the following locations:
• Ace Hardware at La Plaza Grande in Spanish Springs
• Ace Hardware at Southern Trace Plaza
• Carpet One at La Plaza Grande in Spanish Springs
• Fiesta Bowl
• Spanish Springs Lanes
• Miller’s Ale House at Lady Lake Commons
• Oakwood Smokehouse and Grill in Lady Lake
• Lowe’s home improvement on U.S. Hwy. 441 in Lady Lake
• Lowe’s home improvement at Trailwinds Village in Wildwood
• Perkins restaurant on Bichara Boulevard in Spanish Springs
• The Lady Lake Driving Range on Rolling Acres Road